W.C. Fields and Me (24-Jun-1976)|
Director: Arthur Hiller
Writer: Bob Merrill
Based on a book: W.C. Fields and Me by Carlotta Monti (with Cy Rice)
Keywords: Drama, Biography
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Review by anonymous (posted on 2-Feb-2007)
As a true W.C. Fields fan & impersonator of him for the last 20 years, Rod Steiger's performance was superior, brilliant & dead on in breaking down the last few years of Field's life. Fields, who died Christmas day in 1946, would have risen up from the grave & applauded Mr. Steiger's performance. The mannerisms, the voice, his cantankerous attitude, his failing health & the relationship with Anna, played wonderfully by Perrine, is worth every second of viewing time. ive seen it at least 15 times in my life & ill be watching it when i shuffle off this mortal coil, if they ever release it on dvd. my video tape broke after lasting 15 years, so now im desperately looking for a copy of this movie more than any other.
Review by John F. Crowley (posted on 18-Apr-2008)
The more knowledgeable of a Fields fan you are, the more you will hate this movie. Although I am a big fan of Rod Steiger, he stunk up this production with his overly broad "Fields drawl," which in reality Fields used sparingly, and he wasn't helped by a ridiculous script that completely rewrote the story of Fields' career. Whoever wrote it would have us believe, for example, that Fields was kicked off Broadway and had to beg a midget for a ride to Hollywood, then frolicked in the surf with the little person after buying a wax museum with him.
Similarly, the movie grossly exaggerates Fields' drinking, conjuring up scenes where Fields stumbled around on the set and forgot his lines, or incidents where he supposedly got into fistfights with film critics. The scenes with Carlotta Monti are contrived and maudlin, and the cinematic reunion with his son is insultingly puerile as well as being factually wrong.
Ach, so much ground to cover, but you get my drift. Steiger showed none of the delicacy of Fields' mannerisms or the educated lilt of his speech, so his characterization was unbelievable to the point of distraction. Almost anybody could have done a better job -- if they had known what they were talking about, which is something the actor and writers did not. There was not one funny moment in the entire film, which is quite an accomplishment, given the subject. I plan to never watch this film again if I can help it.
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